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Random Ramblings on LabVIEW Design

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Cut yourself some slack!

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Hello Would-be slackers,

I used to work really hard! 80 hours a week, all brain time, my mind would be busy (felt fast and noisy in my head). I was amazingly productive for a while, until I wasn't! I was also "productive", I wasn't very creative, I had no spare capacity for that.

I think this is what a lot of employees demand of their staff, it's a taught behaviour from school, college and university ....... and LinkedIn....


So in LinkedIn fashion here's my morning regime (for public consumption)


5:30 am for an ice shower

5:45 10k run, I like to use this time to listen to business or self-help podcasts

6:00 another ice shower and time for 30 minutes of meditation

6:15 start work

8:00 I eat a raw rabbit that I hunted during my run

8:15 work

9:00 interact with family (these times are so important to me)

9:02 work

12:30 Lunch and 150 crunches, I like to call it Lunch n Crunch, sometimes I like to Brunch and Crunch too. But never Brunch and Lunch!

13:00 work

18:00 tea (English for dinner)

18:30 Interact with family

18:32 work

2am journal

3:am bed, where I only dream of the successes I've had


Obviously that's nonsense...


I get up at 8, work until I'm bored or hungry, finish work at 5 and interact with my family a lot. The reason why is because the LinkedIn work-ethic will kill you and your ability to think... and thinking is actually important.


Ideas and the pursuit of ideas come from a quiet brain and time to execute.


I've written about it before, but if you allow your brain to run too hot for too long, there will be a reaction. And it can be life-changing.


But there are also sound business reasons to cut yourself and people who work with you some slack.... 


I have a theory on business management …

If you deliberately understaff a job, the assigned staff will work harder to achieve the tasks (because people like to complete their tasks). So there is a policy to deliberately understaff roles to the point of having zero spare capacity. Our management therefore, has achieved 100% efficiency, what a brilliant manager!


I spent a lot of time in production management and in my work life trying to achieve this ridiculous goal. 


To counter this here's some fairly candid, internal SSDC numbers - (illustration only, our rates are going up!)


If we earnt our standard hourly rate for 48 weeks of the year and 40 hours a week we would earn..


Based on an hourly rate of $100/hour and firm fixed price work.


2 people x 48 x 40 x 100 = $384,000 a year.


Let's compare that to our recent average earnings for the last 3 years - $224000 (before tax and expenses)


Our efficiency is therefore 224/384 = 58%


This number is important, you can view it as being terribly inefficient. But we're under no illusion that what we charge is what we earn. And that is because we spend 42% of our time on ourselves and our customers. We can afford free support, we can investigate new technologies, we have time to strategize. Currently our customer base is 100% returning customers and we're not actively looking for new customers and this can be attributed to our inefficiency.


Our inefficiency also allows us to run our business without much boring logging of hours, we can view a project as a thing that needs completion, not some hours that need to be kept to. This makes it a far happier process and fits with our way of working nicely. It also allows us to cut our customers some slack, we have never gone back to a customer to renegotiate an agreed price in all the years I've been doing this.


Obviously, this is only a sample of 1 (SSDC) and specifically about a partnership with experience people, but I have talked to other Partners that have a similar customer retention rate and their efficiency rate is remarkably similar.


Anyways cut yourself some slack, that spare capacity is important




Opportunity to learn from experienced developers / entrepeneurs (Fab,Joerg and Brian amongst them):
DSH Pragmatic Software Development Workshop

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